Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Dare to be: self aware {Day 2}

See that face? I was the little girl who just wanted everyone in her world to be happy. I'm not sure when or how that happened, but it did. Maybe it's because I'm a firstborn. Maybe because I'm a firstborn girl. Whatever the cause, this tendency has hung around for as long as I can remember, and it's gotten me into trouble.

"But Anne, how can it be harmful to want people around you to be happy", you may ask. 

Because, I'm not responsible for anyone else's happiness.

I grew up believing that it was my responsibility to make those around me happy. My mom, my dad, my siblings, you name it. This is called false responsibility

How can a little girl be responsible for her mom, dad and brothers and sisters happiness? This is just not true. As an adult I know this. With my brain I know this, but ingrained patterns do not give up easily. 

I've felt mean saying "no". I've felt like a betrayer if I went against someone's wishes. I've had to learn the truth about boundaries. What they are, how they work, when to use them. 

Boundaries are like an invisible fence that we put up around our lives, our selves, to protect our treasures, says Dr. Henry Cloud, popular psychologist. Boundaries tell us when it is okay and good to say yes to people and things, and when to say no.

Since I'm wired to want to help people who are hurting I need to be careful that I don't go outside of my own emotional boundaries. I need a way to check myself in these circumstances.

I came up with six questions to ask myself when that drive to rescue someone creeps up on me. It's funny how I'm checking myself with some form of these questions almost daily.

1.  Is this mine to carry?
2. Am I responsible for this person?
3. Am I responsible for this situation?
4. Can I do anything about this?
5. What is the best way for me to care for me in this situation?
6. Do I need to step away from this (person, event, situation) to gain clarity?

I'm learning that I need to give myself permission to speak into the situation if needed, and to speak to myself, and/or to step away altogether.

I'm still learning to be aware of my emotions, what's going on around me, and how both are affecting me. 

I'm daring to be....self aware.

How about you? How self aware are you? Do you have healthy emotional boundaries? I'd love to hear your feedback.

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  1. I'm a tricky one. I actually have pretty healthy boundaries, BUT I also have a tendency to control which puts me outside those boundaries. Those 6 questions are fantastic and ones I've been asking myself as well in a couple of ongoing situations. Very helpful!

    1. Thank you for commenting Leslie! Glad to know I'm not the only one! It's a life long learning process.


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